Netflix will be streaming live. Networks should be afraid. – Sports News (Trending Perfect)

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Netflix just called Audible. On Wednesday, rumors emerged of a new playbook for the streaming giant: live football will be coming to the platform this Christmas. Netflix will launch Exclusive host of this season's NFL Christmas doubleheader At least one holiday game will be broadcast in both 2025 and 2026. If you're a traditional cable customer hoping to spend this Christmas watching the Chiefs take on the Steelers or the Texans take on the Ravens, you'll have to join the subscriber base now at around 270 million.

This newly concluded deal arrives on the heels of this month's Netflix Is a Joke Festival, a comedy festival in Los Angeles that showcases several high-profile live events available to subscribers. These included a new special for Katt Williams, a star-studded roast for Tom Brady, and six nights of John Mulaney's emerging talk show experience. Everyone in Los Angeles Judging by the sheer volume of words written about each of them, this week of live comedy was a success, regardless of how many users watched it in real time.

All of this points to a fact that should make major TV networks very nervous: Netflix is ​​moving quickly into the streaming business — a historic shift for a company that has never made “appointment viewing” part of its business model. Traditionally, Netflix has seemed content to serve as a middleman substitute To the live TV model. This is the company that, after all, popularized binge-watching, catering to an audience that would rather watch a new show over a long weekend than catch up from week to week. The core of Netflix has always been its library of licensed reruns, the antithesis of the one-offs offered by legacy networks.

Netflix has tackled the live TV space before. Last year, the company launched its first live stream, a stand-up special from Chris Rock. The company also announced its intention to live-stream the cast reunion for its sense of reality love is blind— a stark display for an audience religiously tuning in to Bravo's similar slate of season-ending panel discussions. But the A technical hiccup killed that plan: After a system error prevented viewers from watching, the special ended up, anticlimacically, as a regular taped episode on the platform the next morning. With this month's slate of comedy shows, Netflix seems to have worked out the kinks of streaming; One wonders if her smooth performance helped curtail negotiations with the NFL on the goal line.

This deal in particular represents a surprising change in trend. Last summer, Netflix reiterated its reluctance to get into a sports bidding war. “Sports next door” Its formal approach to sports content has been to court sports audiences with a slate of lighthearted docuseries rather than the actual games, more often than not. After all, the major leagues charge an arm and a leg to get through. Games don't have an extended shelf life like a treasured content library does. (Very few old hockey games may return after the week they air). Many of Netflix's competitors have already bet on this audience: Amazon won the streaming rights for Netflix. Thursday Night FootballApple is the new home of Friday night baseballPeacock has exclusive access to the English Premier League.

But even before the NFL news hit, Netflix was gradually getting into the idea of ​​becoming a true destination for sports fans. News of the Christmas Day games follows a series of small moves in the live sports arena: A Golf tournamenta Tennis eventa deal to make Netflix is ​​the new home of WWE raw, and an upcoming sponsored boxing match pitting Mike Tyson against YouTuber Jake Paul (which seems like a clear challenge to cable's old pay-per-view model). In reaching a deal with the NFL, America's most watched and profitable sports league, Netflix is ​​not… Wetting Now, it's throwing its hat in the ring and gunning down one of the last remaining areas of broadcast television control.

It's no mystery why Netflix wants to finally become a player in this arena. Since it introduced its ad-supported plan, where subscribers pay less for the indignity of having their commercial breaks interrupted suit Marathon, advertising revenue has become an important part of a company's financials. And nothing attracts advertisers quite like sporting events. Football also represents an opportunity to capitalize on television's most reliable eyeball magnet (Per Nielsen, NFL games are regularly the highest-rated programming of any week they air) and to increase Netflix's already strong lead in subscribers. In this sense, the company does not have to be the exclusive headquarters of the NFL or even the only Christmas destination for the pigskin. (Next year's Christmas falls on a Thursday, so… Amazon will stream the game in prime time As part of it Tanf The package.) Football is just a feather in the company's cap — and it's another way Netflix is ​​cementing its position as an industry leader.

What's even more troubling is that the NFL deal and the company's general move into live content feel like shots fired in a larger war. It exemplifies the existential threat Netflix poses to television's outdated power structure. It seems like the goal for a while has been to not just compete with the networks, but eventually compete replace they. Last summer, the flow rose to They claim nearly 40 percent of all television viewing hours in the United States. Cable providers can see the shift happening. That's why companies like Comcast are now taking an “if you can't beat 'em, join 'em” approach, announcing streaming service bundles — like the highly anticipated one Netflix-Peacock-Apple bundle– That would cut them off in their profit stream. It remains to be seen whether they focus on confronting the realities of the moment or contribute to their eventual obsolescence.

The question is: What does traditional broadcast TV still have to offer TV viewers that they can't get through streaming services? These are sports and talk shows. Netflix doesn't need to be the industry leader in streaming entertainment. It just needs to slowly take networks out of the equation. Should the Big Four — ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC — lose control of, say, a mass cultural event like the Super Bowl… Well, that would be a ballgame, wouldn't it? Broadcast will win.

To be clear, the major networks are still the preferred destination for the majority of the NFL schedule. But by getting into the streaming TV game, Netflix is ​​getting closer to the monocultural monopoly it seeks. In the company's version of an ideal world, the platform would be a one-stop shopping mall — a hub for every movie, show, sporting event or entertainment option available. This should be a scary thought for everyone, not just executives at NBC or HBO. It is said that when businesses compete, the consumer wins. So what happens when there is no more competition, when one company wins decisively? Regardless of how this affects the types of art and entertainment that are ever produced, there is a price to consider. If you think cable service is expensive, wait until you see how much the only game in town costs.

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